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Kelly Smith appointed player-coach

Kelly Smith in training

Arsenal Ladies captain Kelly Smith has been appointed as player-coach.

England's all-time leading goalscorer will combine her playing duties with the new role, which sees her help with training sessions and preparing the team for matchdays.

“I’m really pleased to have been given the opportunity to coach the girls," Smith said. "Coaching is an area I’ve been interested in for some time. It will be a new challenge for me and I’m looking forward to it.”

"I’ve always seen Kelly as a coach down the line"

Vic Akers

Head coach Shelley Kerr said: “It’s great to have Kelly on board as a coach. She has so much experience and enthusiasm she can relay to the younger players and I think they will really benefit from her involvement.”

General manager Vic Akers, who has worked with Smith since 1996, added: “I’ve always seen Kelly as a coach down the line, and I’m very glad she’s accepted the chance to combine coaching with her playing role.

"She’s been at the top of the womens' game for 15 years, and has achieved so much as a player. She’s in a great position to pass on some of that experience to the rest of the team and will be a great addition to our coaching staff.”